Party Planning Tips

General Time Line: Party Planning Tips

Three weeks in advance:

  • Create the guest list; send out invitations.
  • Purchase party favors or decorations (if using) from a party or craft store or online.

One week in advance:

  • Inventory beverage supplies and purchase needed items. Plan to stock both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Check table linens, china, crystal and silver.
  • Select serving platters.
  • Order a flower arrangement, or order supplies to make an arrangement or other table décor. Purchase any non-perishable items required for table décor.
  • Check supply of candles and candle holders (everyone and everything looks better in soft candlelight!).
  • Decide on canapés or hors d’oeuvres to be served as guests arrived (if desired). Arrange to have them made, or schedule the appropriate amount of time to make them yourself.
  • Make a time line of prep (or mise en place) for the menu.
  • Make a shopping list.

Three days in advance:

  • Purchase all food items, except bread, to be served with dinner. (If purchasing fresh, not frozen lobster tails, wait and purchase them 24 hours prior to the party.)

24 hours in advance:

  • Chill white wines, champagnes and bottled water.
  • Set the table (leave space for floral or other centerpiece).
  • Select appropriate music to play throughout the evening.
  • Place butter in serving dish(es); wrap tightly and refrigerate.

On the day of the party:

  • Pick up bread for serving with dinner.
  • Pick up or make flower arrangement, if using.

Serving Tips:

  • Pre-select all serving pieces (plates, cups, bowls, glasses, bread baskets, condiment servers, etc.) and utensils.
  • 30 minutes before service, warm all plates, bowls, cups, etc. for serving hot foods.
  • 2 to 4 hours before service, chill all plates, cups, bowls etc. for serving chilled foods.